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What Is a Photo Lineup?

When a crime has been committed, a witness usually provides a description of the suspect to law enforcement officers. However, it is possible for the description to match several individuals. In order to pinpoint the actual suspect, the photos of the individuals who fit the description may be presented to the witness in order for him or her to point out which individual is more likely to fit his or her description. This process is referred to as a photo lineup.

A photo lineup is a common procedure used by law enforcement agencies and officers in determining who a criminal or suspect may be. This type of procedure makes it easier for a law enforcement officer to commit less error when determining who and who is not guilty.

It is necessary for the photo lineup to be consistent to the description given by the witness in order to avoid any undue prejudice and subsequent litigation. Once the witness has made a positive identification of the suspect based on the photo lineup, it is possible that this procedure be used as proof if the case goes to court trial.

A case that is based solely on a witness’ identification from a photo lineup is a weak case, because it provides no other substantial evidence that puts the suspect or criminal at the scene of the crime. When evaluating this type of evidence, the court has to consider the credibility of the witness as well as the relationship the witness has with the defendant, and other pertinent information.


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